It is always great to see pictures those early Chandler homes, so when I unexpectedly came across the Isaac Chandler house listed for sale in the present day, an opportunity arose to share the pictures with all of you. The house is located at 14 Powder Point in Duxbury. For more pictures of both the interior and exterior go to the websites at the bottom of the article. The above aerial picture is courtesy of Joan McDonnell.
The Isaac Chandler house was built, c. 1809, just across the street from where the Blue Fish River comes into Duxbury bay. It is a lovely and beautifully remodeled Cape Cod house.
The only Isaac Chandler that we have record of, c. 1809, in Duxbury was born Oct. 3, 1784 in Kingston and died Nov. 13, 1837 in Duxbury. He married Abigail Delano of Duxbury. He is on record for also building the house around the corner on 31 Cove St. in 1829. I am hoping to get more information about Isaac and will update you about him in the future.
Isaac was possibly a shipwright and cabinet maker. His brothers-in-law, Asa and Henry Delano were cabinet makers.
His lineage starting with Isaac and going back was: Isaac Chandler +Abigail Delano> Ephraim Chandler+Mary (Molly) Doten> Nathaniel Chandler+Ruth Bradford> Philip Chandler+Rebecca Philips> Joseph Chandler+Martha Hunt> Joseph Chandler+Mercy ?> Edmund Chandler, the immigrant.
By the picture you can see it is a very big and grand house; however, it was not originally that big and grand. The story goes that about 70 years ago a small cottage was barged over from Nantucket Island and rolled up the beach, probably on logs, at high tide and placed behind the Isaac Chandler house.
The house, the ell and the cottage were unified in appearance and function during the remodeling. Fabrizio Construction remodeled the house twice and brought it to its current look.
The dormer windows were added to the original house many years ago. Originally, Cape Cod houses did not have dormer windows, although dormers became very popular later on. If you see a very old Cape Cod house with dormers, they were added at a later date. Windows on very old Cape Cod houses were generally at the gable ends of the houses. The door was at the center of the front of the house.
This is from Steve Fabrizio’s e-mail about the history of the house construction.
“The kitchen ell was added on a long time ago but not long after 1809 & I think at one time had a porch of some sort. I know it is still very old as it sits on a stone foundation with a dirt crawl space and hand hewn timbers for floor joists. I would guess it is within 20-30 years of the original construction seeing some of the old details and framing style.
The cottage, as we call it, was originally a 1 1/2 story fishing shack or wharf building of some sorts and dates back the early 1700’s on Nantucket. It was existing when we arrived but in very poor structural condition and needed extensive repair to sills & floors, but lots of old paneling & a ships ladder sets of winding stairs was still intact. We jacked the building up at one point and when we did it moved away from the house a bit and newspapers from the 1940’s fell out of the ceiling from a crack between the cottage and the kitchen ell. They were probably put there as insulation or as a time capsule of some sort”.
The front and original part of the house is still very much original with wide pine floors and three fireplaces, although a small powder room, carpeting and the like was added. The interior of the house has not been preserved as a museum, who would want to live in a house without running water or electricity today? While the original section is traditional, other touches have been used in the addition.
It may even come with its own ghost, Isaac perhaps? Steve reported that the first night the then new owners stayed in the house, they wondered if it was haunted. However, no more ghostly reports have been cited as to my knowledge.
Duxbury is a beautiful and well off community today with many historic homes, but it wasn’t always well off. In the period before the Revolutionary war, the thoroughly patriot town Duxbury was poor compared to its neighbor, the rich and most Tory town in New England, Marshfield. However, after the Revolution, Duxbury became wealthy from ship building which lasted until the 1850s when the demand for sailing ships declined. The great age of sail over, Duxbury had no money to remodel or tear down old homes in order to build new ones. Duxbury remained untouched, almost frozen in time, for many decades.
Building Highway 3 from Boston in the 20th century allowed commuters to live in Duxbury and work in Boston, which really buoyed the town fortunes. As a consequence of the economic revival of the town, the old, historic homes have now been lovingly restored and cared for. So if you have about a spare million and half, you can buy the Isaac Chandler house and look out onto the bay as he must have done and cruise around in your boat which comes with the house. If not, enjoy the pictures!
There a many Chandler homes in Duxbury. We have pictures of a few in our Library in the Members’ Only section of the website. If you have pictures of any more, let us know so we can share.
Thank you to Joan McDonnell, Steve Fabrizio and Carolyn Ravenscroft of the Duxbury Rural Historical Society for contributing information for this story. If you have questions about the Isaac Chandler house, Steve would be glad to answer them.
The Duxbury Rural Historical Society
Coldwell Banker, Joan McDonnell
Fabrizio Construction, Duxbury